Date of Graduation

Fall 2011


Master of Arts in Writing



Committee Chair

Margaret Weaver


expressivism, social construction, journaling, composition, creative writing, postmodernism, self-discovery, audience awareness

Subject Categories

Creative Writing


Perhaps the most distinct difference between the expressivist and the social constructionist in the writing classroom is the emphasis on audience. Personal experience with a creative workshop inspired me to explore the effectiveness of traditional journaling. I wanted to challenge the traditional journal writing in the composition classroom and propose a more effective way of approaching greater self(s)-awareness by including fictional writing based on "real" experiences in the composition classroom. In the creation of characters in fictional writing, the writer is forced to examine him/herself in an attempt to justify actions. This study consisted of several elements in an attempt to gauge the levels of both audience awareness and self(s)-discovery: journaling, fiction writing, peer response and self-assessment surveys. The results of this study indicate that freshman composition students did not experience a greater awareness of self through the fictional writing; they did experience a greater awareness of others through the fictional writing. It is inconclusive whether this is a result of the genre or the peer review. However, this study suggests that much is to be gained by blurring the lines between genres of writing in the composition classroom. If the field of Composition wishes to blend expressivism and social construction and move toward a more postmodern approach, we must first blur the borderlands between the divisions within writing in the field of writing.


© Nicole Christine Thom-Arens

Campus Only